Liv·a·ble (adjective): worth living; enjoyable

Every Livable Lesson will encourage you to prioritize your own health and happiness by:

1. Sparking inspiration from a quote/research.
2. Connecting the quote/research to what you deserve as a teacher.
3. Promoting accountability with related actions to implement inside and outside your classroom.
4. Encouraging reflection with a related wellness question.


“We humans have a propensity to give more weight in our minds to things that go wrong than to things that go right—so much so that just one negative event can hijack our minds in ways that can be detrimental to our work, relationships, health, and happiness.” – Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine

What You Deserve

In the world of education, there are so many things that feel completely out of our control as individual teachers. We cannot control what a student does with their free time at home. We cannot control how a parent treats their student. We cannot control how a parent talks to us. We cannot control standardized testing. We cannot control the evaluation system. We cannot control the traffic. We cannot control slow Wi-Fi at school. We cannot control walking into our classroom at 7:30AM to the smell of a dead mouse behind a box you hadn’t noticed for days (had to throw in this personal one 🤢). Truly, the list can go on and on. 

We all know we can control our reactions to situations like these. Did I have control over how I reacted to the rotting smell of a dead mouse in my classroom? Absolutely. Oh and the second one I found in my closet under a box later that day? Absolutely I did. Both reactions were hugely important in dictating how I treated my students, how I treated my co-workers, and ultimately the outcome of my day. 

Our reactions in any given moment, caused by situations we have zero control over, are also impacted by the choices we already made that same day. For example, you didn’t snooze your alarm so you weren’t rushed. You made a nourishing smoothie that balanced your blood sugar. You listened to fun music in the car. You did two minutes of deep belly breathing in the car before walking into school. These were all proactive decisions—all things you had complete control over. Because you had already exerted control over so many parts of your day, a situation out of your control will not have as much of an impact on your day. 

Below are some things you can control that have the power to greatly impact your day of teaching. As you read through this list, consider which are reactive versus proactive. Can some be both? 

  • Your water intake

  • The lunch you pack

  • The snacks you pack

  • Expressing gratitude

  • Spending time outside

  • Saying yes to yourself

  • Your mindset and attitude

  • Taking the time to breathe

  • Whether or not you exercise

  • Having fun with your students

  • How you spend your paycheck

  • Setting the tone in your classroom

  • Showing appreciation for students

  • How you react to a toxic co-worker

  • How much time you spend working

  • How you react to an unruly student

  • The time you spend procrastinating

  • Saying hello to co-workers in the hallway

  • Letting one student overpower 100 others

  • How you react to positive student behavior

  • Completing an activity alongside your students

  • The time you spend talking negatively about your job

  • Venting & creating solutions rather than complaining

  • Your screen time (morning, throughout the day, evening)

  • Letting difficulties affect your interactions: traffic, technology issues, etc.

There are endless other things that we can control every single day. What would you add?


At School: Set a timer and have students write down, on a piece of paper or a post-it, all of the things that they can control in one class period. They may need to start small. Once they are used to thinking this way, you can have them write down everything that they can control during the school day. Tape up all the papers or post-its on the wall. This serves as a visual reminder for students (and you) of all the power we do have over our days.

At Home: Take a few minutes to write down everything you can control in one day, starting from the second you wake up to the second you go to sleep. Try doing this once a week and notice how it impacts your point of view.


How does focusing on what you can control impact your teaching?
How does it impact your home life?

In health and happiness,

Lauren Girgash
Founder and CEO of Livable Learning